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08 July, 2011

Empty Your Cup

The teacup story is around in different versions, here is one of them.

A very intelligent college professor went to see a great Zen master to learn all he could from the master about Zen, and about the meaning of life. After having travelled many miles to see the master, they sat down together for tea. The professor began to go on at length about all he knew about Zen and what he thought was the meaning of life. The Zen master sat patiently listening and the few times he tried to speak, the professor quickly cut him off with his own feelings about whatever the master had begun to speak of.

After a while, the master asked the professor if he wanted some more tea. The professor said, "Yes, thank you." As the master filled his cup, he continued to pour the tea even as it ran over the top and onto the floor. The professor said, "What are you doing? The cup is full. Stop pouring the tea!"

As the master stopped pouring, he said, "Just the same as the cup is full, so is your mind. You came here to gain more knowledge from me. However, all you've done is tell me everything you already know. Empty your cup so that you may learn from others."

The concept is very simple, but difficult to practice. It requires tremendous humility to accept that you have left your ego and have come to receive.

Knowledge is learning something every day. Wisdom is letting something go every day. – Zen Proverb

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